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Whitefish Montana

This old fur trading settlement is now one of the most popular ski destinations in the West. Big Mountain, the ski operation, features more than 3,000 acres of terrain in the Whitefish Range -- 23 miles northeast of Kalispell and eight miles north of Whitefish. The town is 20 miles from West Glacier, the southwest gate to Glacier National Park. Whitefish is a year-round vacation town, perfectly situated for day-trips or for relaxing in a resort ambience.

North of Whitefish, along Highway 93, you'll experience some of the most majestic scenery in the state, plus thrilling summer and winter recreation, in an area just west of the Glacier Park boundary.

What to See & Do

The Great Northern Railroad arrived in Whitefish in 1893. Before then, the area was home to only a few trappers and homesteaders. This is still a small, quaint town of about 4300 people which is a fine complement to the resort operations three miles away. The Stump Town Historical Society operates a mini-museum featuring early history of the area, with logging and railway artifacts.

The town has several antique and collectables galleries on picturesque Central Avenue, the town's main street. Saloons and restaurants in historic buildings provide relaxed dining and evening social activity. Whitefish Lake State Park is located just north of town west of Highway 93 on a county road, providing camping and a picnic area, as well as swimming. The park is near the Whitefish Lake Golf Course. There is another beach with a picnic area at City Park on Lakeside Boulevard.

On the way to Glacier National Park (off Highway 2), the Hungry Horse Dam offers guided tours. The reservoir here is a long, slender lake with hiking and trails in the national forest. The renowned ski hill offers summer thrills, as well, with the gondola (the Glacier Chaser) and high-speed quad chairs taking visitors to Big Mountain Summit, offering walks through alpine meadows and fine views of the surrounding peaks and the Flathead Valley. For information and reservations, go here.

Whitefish Trails

One of real joys of the Whitefish experience is walking the Danny On Trail, a Forest Service trail which begins at the Big Mountain ski base. This is a self guided trail with a hike of about six miles leading across the mountain and up to Summit House -- at the ski peak -- where the USFS operates an interpretation center. The easy way to do this trail is to take the gondola to the top and walk down, a descent of about three miles. The trail becomes clear of snow about the first of July and the lift operates from mid-May through Labor Day.

The fall season is an excellent time to walk the full trail, to the top and back again, with fall colors blazing on the mountain. A high trail provides an additional loop hike of 3.8 miles, through Flower Point, on an amazingly colorful alpine meadow.

Whitefish Hotels & Resorts

Big Mountain road is the road to travel to find a variety of lodgings at the foot of the Whitefish Mountain Resort ski hills. Here you'll find deluxe lodges, condominium accommodations, and a bed and breakfast inn.

Edelweiss Condominiums are at 3898 Big Mountain Road (406-862-3687) and Morning Eagle Luxury Condos at 3893 Big Mountain Road (406-862-3687).

Kandahar - The Lodge at Big Mountain is one of the lodges at the ski resort (408-862-6098). Another is Kintla Ski-In/And Ski-Out Lodge, at 3889 Big Mountain Road (800-920-9463).

Motels in the town are largely of the chain variety.

Whitefish Camping

Diamond K RV Park
5121 U.S. Highway 93 South, Whtefish, (406) 862-4242
A large, full-service campground on U.S. 93, with tent and RV sites that features chuckwagon suppers and a western show. Open April 15 to November 15.

Columbia Falls RV Park
103 U.S. Hwy 2 East, ColumbiaFalls, 406-892-1122
or 888-401-7268
Columbia Falls is a short drive from Whitefish, on the road to Glacier National Park. This RV park has full hookups for motor homes and trailers, no tenting. Amenities include how showers and restrooms, propane available, laundry room, walking trails, and free WiFi.

Whitefish Lake State Park Campground
1615 West Lakeshore, Whitefish, 406-862-3991
The campground on the lake, close to the town, offers boating, swimming and fishing along with 25 RV and tent campsites. Reserve at reserveamerica.com.

Montana Destinations

Bigfork

Billings

Bozeman

Butte

Gardiner

Glacier National Park

Great Falls

Helena

Missoula

Red Lodge

Seeley Lake & The Swan Valley

West Yellowstone

Whitefish

 


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